Measles Cases in the U.S. Exceed Last Year’s Count

By iMedix
Updated 2024-03-30 09:16:11 | Published 2024-03-30 09:16:11
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Measles Cases in the U.S. Exceed Last Year's Count

The U.S. has witnessed a surge in measles cases in recent months, surpassing the 2023 total with 64 confirmed cases across 17 states, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This increase is attributed partly to outbreaks in various locations, including a migrant shelter in Chicago, a school in Florida, and a hospital in Philadelphia.

Many of the cases this year are linked to international travel, primarily affecting unvaccinated children. Despite the high effectiveness of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, the CDC notes that certain communities with low vaccination rates are more vulnerable to outbreaks.

Chicago's outbreak has notably affected children under five, while Florida and Pennsylvania have also reported cases. This rise in measles cases is a concern, but it still falls short of the significant outbreak in 2019, which nearly jeopardized the U.S.'s measles elimination status, primarily due to cases in Orthodox Jewish communities in New York.

Measles is extremely contagious, but widespread vaccination had eliminated the disease in the U.S. by 2000. Recent years have seen a decline in vaccination rates, with less than 95% of kindergartners receiving the MMR vaccine in the past two school years.

Symptoms of measles typically begin with fever and respiratory issues, followed by a rash. Severe cases can lead to pneumonia, brain swelling, or other complications. Prior to widespread vaccination, measles led to thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths annually in the U.S. Today, unvaccinated individuals face a significant risk of hospitalization, and child fatalities from measles still occur due to its complications.

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